Without a doubt, Paris is one of my favorite cities and I was extremely excited for this year’s WordCamp Europe. WCEU is by far the largest WordCamp in Europe and it is one of the biggest WordCamps in the world. This year’s event brought in 1900 visitors from 79 countries around the globe. The event was live streamed to an additional 1000 viewers across the web. Many of the attendees were from the EU, but there was no shortage of visitors from North America, Asia, and other regions.

This year’s event was similar to last year’s WordCamp EU in Vienna with regards to the massive amount of visitors and extreme heat. Being in the early part of summer, you can be sure that there are some pretty hot Parisian days as the sun shines high in the sky until late in the evening.

With the days being sunny and hot, it was great to cool off in the spacious halls during presentations. Between talks, one could catch a bit of sunshine while walking between the two cavernous warehouse-sized buildings where talks were staged.

Location – The Docks of Paris

Photo © Mark Jacob Long

Paris is a fantastic and vibrant city but The Docks of Paris was just a little too far removed from the center of the city to experience city life and the benefits of being in an international city. Travel to various parts of the city outside of the event took ages.

The plus side of being out in the docks is that WordCamp was extremely focused and there was a stress-free vibe that you wouldn’t necessarily find in the center of a bustling metropolis. The halls in The Docks were spacious and allowed ample space for sponsor booths and general socializing. It almost seemed as if the coffee and pastries were on tap as they were unlimited throughout the two-day event.

Contributor Day

One of the best parts of WordCamp for me this year was Contributor Day and I took a different approach to participating than I have at previous events. At past WordCamp Contributor Days, I joined development groups such as the Theme Review team or Core Development to see how I could help. This time around I was more interested in the workshops.

There was a heavy focus on JavaScript to the extent that there was even a Core JavaScript group, which I’ve never seen at a previous WordCamp. I aspire to learn javascript deeply and the JavaScript workshops were a perfect refresher to get me thinking in the JavaScript way once again. I noticed a good mix of people from beginners to advanced developers who wanted to get more out of their front end development skills and the Intro JavaScript Workshop presented by Zac Gordon was an excellent and well thought out session.

After a fantastic WordPress JavaScript History Lesson from Adam Silverstein, I decided to switch gears and learn more about what the WP-CLI group was doing. I popped into a lively, interactive session where testing was one of the main topics. I got a primer on how to define features using Gherkin as well as using TestDriven and Behavior Driven Development techniques from CodeCeption for WordPress creator Luca Tumedei, which is something I’ve never thought about with regards to WordPress before.

Speaker & Sponsor Event

I can not think of a better way to spend an evening than socializing on a boat docked along the south bank of the River Seine. A limited number of people who were involved in making the event happen were invited to enjoy the view from the top and middle deck of Le Bateau Concorde Atlantique. Nothing beats a glass of vin rouge while watching the sunset over Paris at dusk.

Notable Sessions

Amongst the two tracks of presentations throughout the two-day event, there was a great variety of topics that were designed to get people thinking about development, business and doing more with WordPress.

Optimize WordPress Performance with XDebug and PHP Profiling

The technical session presented by Otto Kekäläinen was meant to help developers to understand how you can enhance WordPress performance by understanding what PHP is processing. There were several examples of using Curl and WP-CLI to better understand what WordPress is spending time processing on the back end.

WordPress Security For All

This talk by Miriam Schwab went through the most common ways to prevent a WordPress site from being compromised. Of the most important ways to keep your site safe are keeping WordPress updated, using a reliable host, regular backups and restore, and strong support service to help you out when things get tricky. A bit of a surprise ending landed us on the idea of using serverless technology such as AWS Lambda to generate and cache WordPress pages. Using this technique, WordPress is never be exposed to the web, but rather be used as a page generator. Serverless technology is designed for non-dynamic sites and it will be interesting to see how this can be done in the future with dynamic sites that are more demanding.

Matt Mullenweg QA

With last year’s discussion of WordPress as the future OS of the web, I was certain that we’d hear some interesting details on the progression and future of WordPress. There was a heavy focus on the new WordPress visual editor called Project Gutenberg.  One of the key problems that Gutenberg solves is making it easier to edit content visually. Gutenberg allows editors to have more control of content layouts within a post by providing a simple and flexible user interface based on blocks. The intention is to make it easier to create advanced block based layouts which you can see on the Gutenberg demo site.


There’s nothing better than a social event to blow off some steam and bump shoulders with the WordPress heavyweights. The afterparty venue was at Pavillon d’Armenonville, a green space just outside of the hustle of the city, but still close enough to still feel like Paris. This year’s social was really good fun with lots of folks sticking around until late dressed in their Parisian 1930’s costumes as according to the theme. One of the clever things about the theme this year around is that the WCEU website also matched the afterparty theme with its new WordPress theme called Campsite.


Another successful year of WordCamp EU has gone by and I congratulate the organizers for bringing us another outstanding event. I’m hoping that next year’s WordCamp EU, which was just announced to take place in Belgrade will be in central and more lively part of town while still retaining the focus of past years events.

See you again next year!